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Toni Talks about PT Today

A Glimmer of Hope for the PT Profession

Published July 22, 2015 5:19 PM by Toni Patt

Last weekend I attended a Texas Physical Therapy Association (TPTA) meeting. The purpose was to rethink our strategy for the next few years. It seems the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has been researching why its message isn't being received. Thousands of dollars were spent on consultants to tell them why this has been happening. The answer was simple.

The APTA is getting the message out but members perceive this as being shouted at and aren't responding. As a result, the APTA is working on changing both the message and how it is delivered, starting with a new vision statement.

The consultants also told the APTA that concentrating on direct access has alienated therapists. The perception is that direct access only affects a portion of practicing PTs and by focusing on it, the remainder are feeling ignored. I could have told them that for a lot less money. Now the APTA, and by extension, the TPTA are switching gears and focusing on listening to members. They want to learn what keeps the average therapist up at night.

I think we've been expressing ourselves clearly. We don't agree with the message and aren't joining the APTA. Nor are we giving money to the APTA PAC. I think this very clearly says we don't agree with what is being done and how the money is being spent. We aren't going to support those actions. Grassroots therapists are putting their money where their mouths are, so to speak.

To me the remainder of the meeting was an exercise in frustration. I can give them some reasons why we aren't engaging. I can give them some examples of what keeps PTs up at night. I tried to do that and discovered that while we are now asking the questions, no one is listening to the answers. I was actually told I was wrong.

While this is a step in the right direction, more is needed. Those in leadership positions need to let go of their preconceived notions. Our leadership seems to have already decided why we're not listening. Nothing I offered was taken seriously. Finally I just sat back and watched.

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